Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Bright - Urban Future's predicts Chilliwack's Future Growth to 2040

Last Friday, I spent the day listening to speakers at the "Chilliwack Moving Forward 2014 - 2040" educational event.  This event was hosted by the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO) and the Chilliwack Real Estate Board's Commercial Division of which I am a member.

"Visions" Chilliwack Cultural Centre

It seemed appropriate that I passed by the recently installed sculpture "Visions" on my way in.  The artist explains that each rectangle is supposed to give the viewer pause for thought about the past, present and future.  This sculpture, was a gift to the City of Chilliwack by the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board of which I am a past president.

Predicting the Future

When it comes to predicting the future, there are certain factors that cannot be ignored. The first of these is demographics.  Since 1976, B.C. has seen its population swell from 2.53 to 4.58 million people in 2013, is there any surprise that increased demand has led to higher real estate values.

The Fraser Valley, despite the vast size of the province mainland, should be considered as being more like an island. The constraints of the Canada- USA border to the south, the Coastal and Cascade Mountains to the north and east and the ocean to the west make this a very confined location indeed. Further complicating land use is the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) which removes properties from development that might otherwise be broken down into residential purposes.

The morning began with a presentation by demographer Ryan Berlin of the Urban Futures Institute.
With respect to the current British Columbian population of 4.58 million (2013) by 2040 the Urban Futures people expect that there will be 6.41 million people.  In other words,  in the 26 years between now and  2040 they are anticipating another 1.83 million people to call BC home.  A 40% increase from 2014 - 2040; at a pace 122% higher than that previously achieved in the 1976-2013 period.

How many people will Chilliwack attract by 2040?

Ryan Berlin, expects that the Chilliwack area, which includes Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs and Hope should see another 30,000 people by 2032 on its current base population of 107,000 and 40,000 by 2040.

Where are these people coming from?  

As the typical BC family is having only 1.41 children (2013), which is below replacement levels, people coming into BC from other locations are the trend and the engine behind future population gains.  Inter-provincial migration will add about 27% and immigration from other parts of the world about 73%.

Where will our new residents live in Chilliwack?

Hillside development possibilities will accommodate about 15 percent and then more compact housing will have to be developed.   To some degree, with carriage homes and basement suites becoming more prevalent, this is already taking place in Chilliwack. Likely specialized housing designed around another demographic juggernaut - "the aging boomer" will occur.  These boomers can expect to live longer than the current averages of 83.7 years for women and 79.7 for men.

I believe, we will see more Indian Reserve land developed given the size of the demand and constraints of the ALR.


The future for real estate in Chilliwack looks healthy, especially as younger families and, "cashed out seniors/boomers" in communities to the west, will likely target Chilliwack as it gives the "best in the Valley pricing".

As I left, once again, I walked past the "Visions" sculpture this time with a little clearer picture of what the future here in Chilliwack will look like.  It was bright.

Imagine living here...

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

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